The day after Alan Colmes passed away following a brief battle with lymphoma, Isaac Chotiner wrote a vile piece for Slate titled: “Alan Colmes, Buffoon and Patsy, Was Fox News’ Original Liberal Weakling.”
Colmes was the most absurd, useless, and mocked television personality in America for many years, precisely because he was nice. In the context of Fox News, being a nice guy—and a “liberal” nice guy at that—meant being a buffoon, and a patsy. Colmes not only played the part to perfection—he defined it…
Colmes had a radio career, but he will almost surely be remembered for his job co-hosting Hannity & Colmes, the dreadful, morally bankrupt, Foxified version of Crossfire…
I wrote that Colmes was a nice guy, and we should all be able to separate the personal from the political, and the personal from the professional, etc., etc., etc. But while Colmes may not have been a genius, he wasn’t a complete moron either; in short, he was smart enough to know he was being used, and to take the money that his services demanded. If this is something less than morally reprehensible, it is still pretty gross. We can mourn that Alan Colmes won’t be around to watch the political era he, as an important cog in the Fox News machine, helped usher in; unfortunately, the rest of us have no choice.
After the passing of Mr. Colmes, colleagues from Fox News and elsewhere took to social media to express their condolences, noting Colmes’ kindness above all else. Anchor Shepard Smith called him “one of the good guys.”
The New York Times writes that Alan Colmes was happy to be that “good guy”:
Mr. Colmes said he preferred to be in the minority among Fox’s stable of mostly conservative commentators rather than just another voice preaching to the liberal choir, though he sometimes described himself as a moderate, at least in demeanor.
Alan Colmes was an accomplished author, TV personality, and radio host, who conducted his political debates with civility. Unfortunately, in 2017, progressives are not allowed to be civil; such behavior is viewed as weakness.
Isaac Chotiner exhibits a clear disdain for progressives like Alan Colmes–progressives who aren’t marching and chanting in the streets, but arguing with words and ideas; progressives who aren’t rioting and shouting over their opponents, but engaging in a civil discourse and an equitable exchange of perspectives.
Screaming, rioting, and cruelty do little to advance political philosophies. In fact, they shut down discussion entirely. Alan Colmes understood that deeply.
Perhaps the best response to Chotiner’s savage hit-piece comes from the late Alan Colmes himself. In 2003, he was asked why he wasn’t more fiery, or combative. He replied that one doesn’t fight fire with fire, but “with water.”